Forget Viagra: scientists are working on an electronic "pleasure chip" that will be able to stimulate pleasure centers in the brain and hardwire humans for sexual enjoyment.

The prospect of the chip is emerging from progress in deep brain stimulation, in which tiny shocks from implanted electrodes are given to the brain, The Australian reports.

It has already been used to treat symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

In recent months, scientists have been focusing on an area of the brain just behind the eyes known as the orbitofrontal cortex.

This area is associated with feelings of pleasure derived from eating and sex. A research survey conducted by Morten Kringelbach, senior fellow at Oxford University's department of psychiatry, and reported in the Nature Reviews Neuroscience journal, found the orbitofrontal cortex could be a "new stimulation target" to help people suffering from an inability to experience pleasure from activities such sex and eating.

Stimulating this area can produce pleasure as intense as "devouring a delicious pastry," he said. His colleague Tipu Aziz, a professor of neurosurgery at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, predicted a significant breakthrough in the science behind a sex chip within 10 years.

"There is evidence that this chip will work," he said. "A few years ago, a scientist implanted such a device into the brain of a woman with a low sex drive and turned her into a very sexually active woman. She didn't like the sudden change, so the wiring in her head was removed."

How to do the wiring remains a hurdle. Aziz says current technology, which requires surgery to connect a wire from a heart pacemaker into the brain, causes bleeding in some patients and is "intrusive and crude"

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